What is a Network Card?

By cavsi Category: Network Adapters Tags:

A network card also called Ethernet card, Network Adapter, Network Interface Card, or NIC. A network card acts as the interface between a computer and the rest of devices that forms the network. The purpose of the network card is to prepare, send, and control data on the network.


A network card usually has two indicator lights (LEDs):

  • The green LED shows that the card is receiving electricity;
  • The orange (10 Mb/s) or red (100 Mb/s) LED indicates network activity (sending or receiving data).

To prepare data to be sent the network card uses a transceiver, which transforms parallel data into serial data. Each network card has a unique address, called a MAC address, assigned by the card’s manufacturer, which lets it be uniquely identified among all the network cards in the world.

To ensure that the computer and network are compatible, the card must be suitable for the computer’s data bus architecture, and have the appropriate type of socket for the cable. Each card is designed to work with a certain kind of cable. Some cards include multiple interface connectors (which can be configured using jumpers, DIP switches, or software). The most commonly used are RJ-45 connectors.

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